When Brittany York was three years old, her mother threw her into a pool. "Sink or swim," Miss October says now, laughing. She swam. In fact, the free-style and butterfly strokes she developed in rigorous daily training sessions might have won her a spot on the Olympic team in Hong Kong, where she grew up. Might have - if she hadn't broken her leg skiing in Switzerland. Around that time, young Brittany's attention turned to boys. She was 14 years old, living in a Hong Kong high-rise with her English parents, her two brothers and the family's Chinese maid. Here's what Brittany did: "My parents went to bed at ten o'clock, and I was out the door at ten-thirty." Using her own money - earned baby-sitting, giving swimming lessons and modeling - she'd taxi to the local hot spots to dance the night away with her friends. "In Hong Kong, kids go out in groups. You don't go out with just one guy, the way you would on a date in America. There were certain night clubs we all went to, so I could go out alone and know where to find my friends." But wasn't she just a little . . . young? "I've always done things earlier than most people my age," she says simply. Only 25 years old now, this world-traveling beauty with world class looks has already seen more of the globe than most people dream of. There were the annual pilgrimages to London and the English countryside when she was growing up. There were tours of Europe, trips to Kenya and Brazil and three world cruises before she was old enough to vote. When she could, she voted with her feet - leaving her subtropical homeland for a distant shore. Sink or swim, she bought a one-way ticket to California and enrolled at the University of San Diego. "My idea of the United States came from seeing California in the movies," she says. "White-sand beaches. People surfing and playing volleyball and drinking margaritas in outdoor cafés." A computer-science major who speaks fluent French -- and English with a charming British accent -- Brittany has now parked her traveling shoes in Los Angeles. "This is the place for me," she says contentedly. "In America, people can get whatever they want."
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